The Story of Princess Crazy Daisy

Daisy's baby picture. She was five months old when we adopted her.

Once upon a time, a father came home from work. He kissed the mother, who was preparing dinner.

The father asked the mother whether she would like to get a puppy. The mother, who had spent the day taking children to and from school, sports practices, and orthodontist appointments, imagined what it would be like to add feeding, housebreaking and cleaning up after a puppy to her already hectic schedule. But the mother was overcome with curiosity. Instead of saying no, the mother asked what kind of puppy it was.

The father, aware of the single answer that might weaken the resolve of his beloved wife, informed the mother that the puppy was a black Labrador. The father offered to take the mother to see the puppy with the understanding that they would not bring it home if she did not like it.

Later that evening the father and mother went to visit the puppy. Against her better judgment, the mother fell in love with the little black puppy. The father took a leash and collar out of his pocket. He and the mother took the puppy home.

The father and mother had three children. The youngest son was interested in the puppy. The oldest daughter was indifferent. The middle daughter cried with joy and asked to name the puppy Daisy. So they did.

The father set up a dog crate in the family room. The father and mother started to house-train the puppy. The puppy was used to living outdoors and had some accidents on the carpet. The mother cleaned them up. Soon the father and mother pulled up the carpet and had a hardwood floor put down instead. The father and mother repainted the family room and replaced the windows.

The puppy learned to be good. She did not jump on people or climb on furniture. One day the puppy went upstairs against the rules. The mother sternly told the puppy to go downstairs. The puppy never went up again.

The puppy learned to “sit,” “lie down,” “stay,” “shake,” and “come.” She learned to “drop” a toy but did not learn to “fetch.” The puppy leaned that “go to bed” meant to lie down in the dog crate. The puppy learned to be obedient.

The puppy loved to take walks. She picked up tree branches to carry around the park. The puppy loved to chew on sticks and rawhide bones and plastic bottles and frisbees. The puppy loved to play tug-of-war with squeaky stuffed animals and to romp in the snow.

Cincopa WordPress plugin
One day the puppy started to shake. The mother thought that the puppy was choking. The mother carried the puppy to the car and drove to the animal hospital. When they got there, the puppy was fine. A few weeks later the puppy started shaking again. The veterinarian told the mother that the puppy had ideopathic epilepsy. The puppy had to take medicine called potassium bromide. The medicine would help the puppy to have fewer seizures.

The puppy grew. One day she was not a puppy any more. She had grown into a dog. She still liked to act frisky like a puppy. She still loved to go for walks and carry sticks and chew plastic water bottles and play tug-of-war.

One day the dog got very sick. The veterinarian told the mother and father that the dog had pancreatitis. The dog stayed in the animal hospital for almost a week. When the dog was well enough to come home she had to stay on a strict low-fat diet. The mother and father and children could give her doggy treats. The dog could also have bits of fruits and vegetables. The dog liked baby carrots, cauliflower stems and apple peels. The dog learned to catch treats in the air when the mother and father and children tossed them.

The father takes the dog for walks in the park and rides in the car. The father lets the dog outside in the middle of the night. The father thinks that the dog loves him best.

The middle daughter feeds the dog and gives the dog medicine and baths. The middle daughter thinks that the dog loves her best.

The neighbors take care of the dog and spoil her when the father and mother and children go out of town. The neighbors think that the dog love them best.

The mother buys the dog food and medicine and chew bones and takes the dog to the vet. The mother cleans up the dog’s messes and sweeps up enough doggy hair to knit a brand new puppy. The mother allowed the puppy to come home in the first place. The mother knows the dog loves her best.

The dog will be 8 years old on Wednesday. The dog is slower than she used to be, and sleeps more. The dog is getting a lot of white hairs on her muzzle and belly and even the pads of her paws.

Cincopa WordPress plugin

The father and mother and children love the dog more than ever and wish a happy birthday to Princess Crazy Daisy.

Bad Poetry and Other Gems

I’ve used the Festisite Text Layout feature a couple of times, both times so focused on my outcome that I didn’t pay attention to what else the site offers. Last week when I revisited the site after mentioning that I had utilized it to design a pendant for my mom’s birthday, I took some time to poke around.

Just within Text Layout there are lots of fun options. I’ve used the Valentine heart and the waves, but there are also Banner, Maze, Rebus and Spiral options. The Rebus feature is  a little   sort of   unbearably  lame, but the others have merit.

But wait! There’s more! You can upload a picture to be featured on a playing card. Like this:


And a bunch of customizable logos, like this:


Or money:

Cincopa WordPress plugin

But as a wordsmith, I most enjoyed the random poetry generator. I entered Phil as the name of my beloved, and a kiss as the optional gift. There were options to adjust the lines. I couldn’t help myself; I had to tweak. Here is the result of our collaboration:


This is really, really bad cringe-worthy poetry. Reach and siege, really? Awkward sentence structure . . . erratic meter . . . passive voice — even so, I like it. Maybe even enough to enter it in the Heart Text Layout for next Valentine’s Day. Shhhh, don’t tell Phil.

The Artisan Side: Glass Jewelry

So far this weblog has introduced readers only to the wordsmith side of my character. Writing is definitely one of my favorite things to do, but I also enjoy making handmade gifts. Creating personalized glass jewelry pieces is one of my favorite artistic endeavors.

This hobby has its roots in a fundraiser for Laura’s eighth grade basketball team, the Trinity Lutheran Lady Tigers. The girls were having a great season and hoped to be invited to the Lutheran Basketball Association of America national tournament held at Valparaiso University.

One of the moms suggested personalized glass pendants. She had made them as gifts for another sports team, and they were relatively easy and inexpensive. We decided to make pendants for all of the teams coming in for the annual Trinity girls’ basketball tournament.

Somehow I ended up with the job of making images for the pendants. The athletic director gave me the rosters from participating teams and I came  up with a design that utilized the initials of the school and each player’s name. We had team parties to make the pendants and assemble the necklaces with ribbon and pony bead sliders in team colors.

Pendants for players and magnets for coaches.

At a modest $5 price point, the pendants were a huge hit, especially among girls with unusually spelled names. We sold every necklace.

Many Trinity school parents were interested in buying additional pendants and magnets, so we took special orders. With a materials cost under a dollar per item this project turned out to be one of our best fundraisers. The girls went on to win their school tournament, placed second in the state tournament and played in the national tournament. Six of the nine girls went on to play high school ball.

I liked the idea enough to use it again to make locker magnets for Laura to give as Christmas gifts to her teammates on the freshman basketball team. Later, when Hanna went on a mission trip to Vietnam, we made refrigerator magnets for her supporters.

Pray for Hanna in Hanoi

By now, I had the hang of the technique, but wished to try something nicer than the bulk bag of craft glass pieces from Hobby Lobby. I discovered Sun and Moon Craft Kits, a wonderful online supplier of jewelry glass in various shapes, as well as bails (the metal piece glued to the back for the chain or ribbon to go through), metal trays that the glass fits into like a picture frame, ribbons and chains and materials of all kind. They also have great tutorials for jewelry projects.

My first major project with new and improved supplies was making gifts for Laura’s basketball team last Christmas. This time I designed pendants using small rectangular glass, medium bails, navy blue organza ribbons, and  basketball charms.

Helias Lady Crusaders 2012-2013

Laura and I decided that her male coaches might not appreciate a pendant necklace and made bookmarks with basketball charms for them instead.

Kyle, Laura’s boyfriend, is goalie for the soccer team. She asked me to  design pendants for his mom and grandmothers.

These feature square pendant trays instead of bails.

Because glass jewelry is labor-intensive, I like to work in batches to minimize waste of materials and maximize use of my time.

My preferred supplies:
• Card stock run through a color laser printer
• Jewel-It or Sun and Moon Glaze
• E-6000 glue for attaching to the bail or tray
• nail polish remover
• x-acto knife, paintbrush (or cotton swabs), emery boards

My latest batch included pendants for friends I visited in Houston and Little Rock this summer.

Incorporating unusual spelling, favorite colors and individual interests make a truly personal gift.

For my mom’s milestone birthday this month, I designed a pendant using a wavy text generator and the names of all her children, their spouses, and the grandkids.

Happy 55th anniversary of your 25th birthday, Mom!

In December my mom and a couple of her friends host an Advent by Candlelight table. I offered to make nativity pendants for her to present to her guests this year.

Eight different Nativity silhouettes in square pendant trays with white organza ribbons are simple yet meaningful party favors.

I’ve got plenty of supplies on hand and lots of ideas for new glass jewelry, so who knows what I may come up with next. Maybe my own Etsy shop.

Do Unto Others

Consider these versions of The Golden Rule as taught by some of the major world religions:

  • Bahá’í: And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself. —Bahá’u’lláh
  • Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.—Udanavarga 5:18
  • Christianity: (Jesus said,) “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31 NIV
  • Confucianism: (Confucius said,) “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”
  • Hinduism: One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires. —Brihaspati, Mahabharata (Anusasana Parva, Section CXIII, Verse 8)
  • Islam: “That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.” – Muhammad
  • Judaism: That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn it. —Talmud, Shabbat 31a, the “Great Principle”
  • Taoism: Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you. — The Way to Happiness, Precept 20

Despite the ubiquitous nature of this maxim, bullying runs rampant in our society – in public schools, in Christian schools, on buses, on the playground, on the playing field, on the internet, in the boardroom. Even Miss America contestants – beautiful and smart and talented – are increasingly admitting to having been bullied and are competing with anti-bullying platforms. Schools can pick from dozens of anti-bullying programs.

Unfortunately, this approach just seems to drive bullying further underground. Bullies are insidious. They know how to hide or disguise their behavior. They are also smart and can figure out ways to get around the new rules.

There has been a major shift in our society. It used to be that we focused on the good of the community; now the focus is on what is best for the individual. I have a deep appreciation for the JFK quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Substitute just about anything else into that sentence – family, school, class, team, company – and it still works! If I were Miss America, my anti-bullying platform would be a little different. We need to shift the focus away from the individual – the bully – and onto society – the greater good.

Do unto others . . . it really is that simple.

Deep In the Heart of Texas

I was hoping to post this on Monday from Texas, but could not manage to log in from my iPad. It may be a little late this way, but it will also be more complete. Thanks for your patience.

We were last in Texas nine years ago. Joseph had asked to see the Alamo, and we obliged. In fact, we toured all five San Antonio missions, strolled the River Walk, visited the Texas Air Museum and the Tower of the Americas. We took day trips to see the USS Lexington at Corpus Christi and crossed into Mexico at Nuevo Laredo. We took Hanna to a college visit at Concordia University Austin and stopped to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial on the way home.

It’s been a while. Laura, 8, and Joey, 6, waiting to see the Alamo, 2004. They saw it again this year, but I’m willing to bet they did not have their picture taken together.

As you can probably tell, we don’t mind keeping busy on vacation. For that matter, it does not faze us to do a lot of driving. These traits served us well this past week as we rushed Laura from a week at Missouri Girls State to meet her youth group in San Antonio for the National Lutheran Youth Gathering.


Nine hours of road time Saturday took us from Warrensburg, Missouri to just south of Forth Worth, Texas. Then another four hours Sunday morning met us up with the youth group in San Antonio for lunch. This actually turned into four and a half hours since our GPS decided to deliver us to a warehouse on the south side of the city rather than a restaurant on the north side. But I digress (much as the GPS did). Then four more hours to Galveston.

I had planned a little getaway to test the waters of empty nest living. We checked into the Coppersmith Inn, a bed and breakfast in a lovely Victorian house about six blocks from the beach.

Our suite featured private access to the second floor veranda.

The following day we ventured into Houston. Phil wanted to see the USS Texas, so San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Site was our first stop. The USS Texas is the only remaining battleship to have been in service during both world wars.

This park volunteer turned out to be from Carthage, Missouri. He and Phil had a nice chat about battleships.

We visited Space Center Houston in the afternoon. Things have changed quite a bit since I was last there as a kid in 1968. We have landed on the moon. Skylab, the space shuttle program and the International Space Station have been developed. The experience of visiting the space center has changed as well, from strictly informational to a multimedia extravaganza. Despite all of the interactive displays, my favorite part of the visit was seeing actual spacecraft on the tram tour of Johnson Space Center. I would have loved to see Mission Control, but that tour was not running the day of our visit.

I got to touch a moon rock!

The best part of our trip began that evening, when we were invited to dinner at the home of a woman I got to know through an internet support group along with another member of that same support group. Priscilla and her husband Mark treated us to fajitas and margaritas. Kay and Dave brought their three beautiful daughters, the “curly girlies,” who entertained us along with the neighborhood kitties. I am so glad to have been able to meet up with them.

Three uncommon women, three uncommon neurological conditions: Sara, hemifacial spasm, Kay, acoustic neuroma, Priscilla, petrous meningioma.

The next day, another 8 hours on the road took us to Little Rock, the home of another support group friend. Angie and I share the same rare disorder, hemifacial spasm, as well as the even more rare and unfortunate surgical side effect of facial paralysis. Angie and her husband Hunter have three handsome boys, one newly adopted.

HFS twins. Even our facial problems are on the same side (left).

It was truly a treat to spend time with these remarkable ladies and their families. Thank you all for your hospitality.

Phil and I spent another six hours on the road yesterday. We picked up the dog from the neighbors and have settled in for a nice relaxing holiday at home. Laura and Joseph will be home in a couple of days, so we have a little time to preview the empty nest experience at home. It seems like just yesterday that we snapped the picture at the top of this post. That was nine years ago; we have just three more until Joseph leaves for college.

I can tell we are going to have to schedule more trips.